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Gourmet Bacon Puffs (Pork Rids, Cracklins)

Pork rindOne of the hottest “new” items on midways, at flea markets, and other concession operations during last season was the Pork Rind or Cracklins– an item we call “Gourmet Bacon Puffs!”

Why are so many people getting into this? Well, in the first place, it is profitable – in the second place, it’s easy – in the third place, there isn’t much competition. In the fourth place, it’s supposedly is “new” – but you ask anybody age 35 to 65 who grew up on a farm if he or she had ever eaten “Cracklins” or “Puffed Pork Skins” and they will have some very positive and fond recollections of growing up and when they were a kid on Grandpa’s Farm, they always enjoyed Puffed Pork Rinds.

Today, we feature only the purest and cleanest dehydrated Pork Rind Pellets – produced under the constant inspection of the United States Department of Agriculture in the USDA approved manufacturing facility. Beware of low quality Bacon Chip Pellets – the more the concept grows, the more low-grade product will be pushed on the market.

Since Pork Rinds may be new to you, a low-grade product will have an “uncomfortable after-taste.” A poorly cooked product will not puff up properly. Low-grade pellets will cause your cooking shortening to get so dirty so quick, that even a dog wouldn’t the product that comes out! So, it’s important to start with high quality Pork Rind Pellets – clean Pork Rind Pellets – and in particular, pellets that have never been subjected to freezing. Never let your inventory of pellets freeze. It’s also important to filter your cooking shortening – a continuous power filter is a good investment – primarily because you can filter your grease hot – the fryer is out of service for no more than 5 or 10 minutes before you’re starting to heat up the clean filtered oil again. But, at best, frying Pork Rind Pellets is not as “clean” an operation as frying French-fries, for example.

If you have seen people on the Midway with a big open kettle and a big “stirring stick” and a skimmer, or if you’ve seen people frying them out at flea markets, chances are most of the chips are not thoroughly cooked. For proper “puffing” or “popping”, a Pork Rind Pellet must be submerged in shortening carrying a temperature of 385 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit – completely submerged for one minute – otherwise you won’t get full expansion – and each serving will actually weigh more than it ought to weigh. And, at 12 ½ cents per ounce, you can’t afford to give any extra.

More importantly, when you puff or pop the Bacon Rind Pellet properly, they taste great – and, when you flavor them with Gold Medal’s Corn Treat Savory Seasoning Powder, they taste even greater – every sale leads to another sale – and usually leads to a large take-home size sale!

What about the equipment to fry Gourmet Bacon Puffs (Pork Rind)?

The smallest type of concession stands will use either a 110 volt, Model # 8047D Gold Medal “small fryer” or a 208/240 volt model # 8048D small fryer with model # 8059 Bacon Puffs Kit(includes basket, lid and bracket).

The equipment cost comes as follows:

1 #8047D 110 volt Small Fryer with Skewer Clips

- OR -

#8048D 208/240 volt Small Fryer with Skewer Clips

1 #8059 Bacon Puffs Kit

A very small concession stand would be better off buying a 110 volt Fryer, because the shortening can stay “up to full heat temperature” for almost three times the number of hours before you have “break-down” in your cooking oil. But, on the 110 volt fryer, the 1800-watt element simply cannot “recover” fast enough and maintain heat sufficient to properly fry, if you’re trying to “push the output.”

A “normal” operation would consist of either two or three of these frying steps. Obviously the “D” model fryers with drains will be a major benefit in a busy location.

Why are three of these 33-pound fat capacity fryers better than one single 100-pound fat capacity fryer?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions – and in the case the answer is not obvious, let’s go through a list of the advantages:

Cooking oils is constantly “breaking down” when it is subject to heat. When business is slow, you only have one fryer on heat – the other two are still either cold or maintained at 200 degrees – a temperature at which virtually no breakdown occurs.

In a busy continuous operation, you have exactly the same output that you could generate with a 100-pound capacity fryer.

A 100-pound fat capacity fryer will cost at least twice as much as the total of three Gold Medal #8048 Fryers. (And your shortening expense will be possibly as much as $200.00 more every week with a 100 pound fat capacity because of the additional breakdown.)

It’s almost physically impossible to have a giant fry basket with a lid hold the chips submerged and then have the total “fried chips,” (plus oil absorption, plus the basket itself) be manageable all day long. It would take a giant of a man!

For longer “pot life” on the cooking oil or shortening, it is very intelligent for a busy operator to buy a power filter which vacuums the oil out of the fry tanks – through the filter medium in the filter – and then pumps it right back in.

In a busy Pork Rind operation, you are probably going to be filtering on your busiest fryer at least two if not three times per day.

Yes, there is oil absorption – the finished product has at least 25% fat content – and, depending upon how much you “shake the basket full” after frying, maybe 33% to 35% fat content. Thus, you need to add oil almost constantly – and, although the recovery is fast on a 208/240 volt, 33-pound fryer, still there’s little time lag. You must maintain the cooking oil temperature as close to 400 degrees as possible – never let it drop below 385 degrees or you won’t have the proper “puffing” or proper “expansion.”

You can keep at least two of your three fryers up to proper temperature and “in business” while the “oil add-in” is heating up in the third.

With the heating element design on Gold Medal 33 pound fryers, there is room for the “sediment” to fall below the heating element into the cool zone – contrast this with other types of fryer design – particularly a gas fryer wherein the sediment goes on the heat tubes – turn to carbon – cuts the efficiency of the fryer so badly that you probably will never bet above 365 degrees!

What else do you need to get started?

The one main accessory you need is the Flav-R-Tater, it automatically flavors the Bacon Puffs with any one of the variety of Savory Flavors found on line at Flav-R-Tater unit, including one shaker box is Model #2349 – costs $318.59, F.O.B. factory. You may need an extra shaker box or two if you are doing more than one flavor.

The Flav-R-Tater is the main additional piece of hardware you need – its gentle tumbling action gives you an evenly coated flavoring as you can possibly get – but, because of so much surface shortening on the Bacon Chips, there will be just a little more flavor on some chips than on others.

A tip to get better flavor distribution:

Fill the shaker box for your Flav-R-Tater about a fourth of the way full of puffed chips – evenly spread about an eight of a cup (3 tablespoons) of any particular savor flavor – then fill the shaker box up to half-way level – spread on about 3 more tablespoons – put the lid on, and place the Flav-R-Tater turntable and tumble on for about two minutes. Then, pour out into your display cabinet and repeat the process.

What size Pork Rind Pellets should I use?

Some manufacturers offer 3 or 4 different sizes – small, medium, large and extra large. We like the “medium” because you will get some small chips – but a “small” is still almost 2” x 2” – and there will be some that are about 1 ½” x 4” long – irregularly shaped during the cooking process, of course.

You get far better portion control when you use only the medium!

How many do I use per batch?

We like to use somewhere between a cup to 1 ½ cups. Two cups will cause the fry basket to actually float out of the shortening as chips start puffing – and you will get an improper cooking process.

Also, we like to finish a batch – shake off the excess shortening – dump into a large wire screen basket for a slight additional cool-down and hopefully the release of possibly a little more cooking oil. Then, place the empty basket in the cooking oil to start “warming up” – so that the oil inside is in fact about 385 degrees – then, pour in (very carefully so you don’t splash) – very evenly, so all the chips have a chance to cook – one cup to 1 ½ cups of pellets – hook the lid in place and then go on to the next fry basket.

How do you know when the pellets are fully cooked?

One sure fire way is to time it – and, once you’ve done 20 or 30 baskets full, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what they look like and how long they are cooking in the “puff” position before they are finished cooking.

Please note – if you under-cook them, you will have some crest – almost impossible to break without a breaking tooth – if you cook them too long, they may not taste just right – maybe a little too greasy.

Can you make any money selling Pork Rinds or Bacon Puffs or Gourmet Bacon Puffs? You bet you can – and at Gold Medal, if we didn’t believe this was a good concept, rest assured we would not have invested in specially printed cone paper, artwork, tooling for the special basket lid, etc. We believe that there’s a great future for Puffed Pig Skins –Bacon Puffs, or whatever you prefer to call them.

Now, let’s look at the cost:

Ingredients used:

Note: On many of our tests, with three net weight ounces of uncooked pellets, the yield was 4 cones full – after flavoring and relatively heaped. The net weight of raw pellets was obviously less than 9/10 ounce per serving – but, this may have been the results of laboratory tests – and for certain, the pellets were cooked properly at the proper temperature and for the proper amount of time – this merely emphasizes the importance of keeping them under the cooking oil surface level – and the importance of having the proper temperature in the cooking oil. Keep you thermostat set at 400 degrees – otherwise, it might cost you $0.03 or $0.04 extra per serving.

Why not order several cases of medium sized Gold Medal Bacon Chip Pellets, plus your #8047D or #8048D fryer and your first case of Cone-O-Corn Cups model # 2067 today.

Added Notes:

Can I use a large salt shaker with Savory Flavor in it to put on after the plain puffs are in the cone?
Absolutely yes – and this may be the best way to go when you are busy!

A word about “cleanliness”…
Be sure to clean all the utensils thoroughly daily. You will get a rancid smell if you don’t keep everything clean.


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